Lionel Bawden

The monsters (apocryphal geographies), 2007
coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, pale boiled linseed oil
27.0 x 57.0 x 41.0 cm


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The artist
Private collection, Sydney

This is a wonderful example of Lionel Bawden’s sculpture at an early height - a large, fully formed Monster of Apocryphal Geographies in the round, from the artist’s acclaimed 2004 series. The showing of Lionel Bawden’s Monsters stands amongst the important events on the art calendar for the year in 2004; the work from this series is widely regarded as amongst the most ambitious in theme and the most expressive in form in the artist's metier, the Staedtler pencil.

Its undulating masses took shape in the artist’s mind, inspired by the cult sci-fi novel Solaris, by Polish author Stainislaw Lem.

'In this book, Bawden encountered a ‘thinking ocean’ upon planet Solaris which, through the complex motion of its surface, gives rise to monstrous independent creations called Extensors. Stretching for miles between membranous walls swollen with ossified growths it’s capability to ‘think’ creates canyon sized formations, triggering unconscious memories in those who examine its behaviour.'
(Claire Lewis, 2004 catalogue essay, GrantPirrie)

This work is an incredible testament to the deep consideration and honing of practice associated with Bawden’s sculpture, to the point where his materials have recognizably taken to life as a pure extension of idea and self: Bawden’s work has repeatedly been explained as extraordinary, experiential thoughts brought forth by his fingers.

'The Monsters are unique in that they offer no conclusions as to their ultimate form; oscillating between landscape, the figure and still-life, depending on the vantage point from which one observes them.'
(C. Lewis, ibid.)

  • The monsters (apocryphal geographies)

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Lionel Bawden was born in born Sydney in 1974. He completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts with Honours in the painting department at The Australian National University, Canberra School of Art in 1997, after having spent six months at The China National Academy of Fine Art, Hangzhou, China in 1995.

Bawden was the recipient of the 2009 Wynne Prize, awarded by the Art Gallery of NSW and, in this year was also the recipient of the 2009 Art Omi International Artist Residency, New York, USA, through the Art Omi Australia committee. In 2005 Bawden was artist in residence at Red Gate Gallery in Beijing and, in 2004 received the ABN Amro emerging Artist Award, Sydney. In 2003 Bawden was awarded the Creative New Zealand residency at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand, where he created the exhibition 'The Spring Tune'. Lionel Bawden is represented by Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne.